*Disclaimer: This article discusses mental illness and suicide. Support and resources on where to get help can be found at the end.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) firms across the UK have made efforts in-house and industry wide to support workers.
Esh Construction and homebuilder, Dandara, have launched campaigns with the Lighthouse Construction Industry charity to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness in construction.
Suicide rates have never been higher in England and Wales, with members of the industry being four times more likely than other sectors to take their own life, according to research complied by Professor Billy Hare of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).
Dandara’s campaign will see its workers and their families get access to practical support from the services provided by the Lighthouse Club.
Esh will roll-out 450 distinctive hard hats to its teams in the North East and Yorkshire to help start concersation between workers, this includes sites in: Northumberland, County Durham, Halifax, and Sheffield.
The first collection of hats will be a bright green and include the sentence, “it’s what’s inside the hard hat that matters.”
The campaign is part of Esh’s wider effort to provide access to mental health services and employ more than 30 mental health first aiders (MHFA) across its divisions, and free counselling for its staff.
Midlands firm, Jessup Partnerships, have also trained up members of its full-time staff for MHFA to help colleagues who are suffering from emotional distress, reported BirminghamLive.
“It’s important for employers to introduce routes to identifying mental health issues early, and one step towards doing so is establishing open communication and instilling a culture of understanding within the business,” said Mark Eustace, head of health, safety and compliance at Jessup Partnerships.
Lighthouse Club’s Wellness Academy offers accredited qualifications for soft skills and MHFA, giving support and access to training to all members of the industry.
Band of Builders also host the annual ‘Big Brew’ event, where members of the industry host brew events to bring workers together and talk about their mental health, using tea as a visual representation of how they are doing.
Services for support
Lighthouse Club has a 24/7 helpline, text service, and app. For support, click here.
To get involved with a Big Brew event, click here.
To learn more about Band of Builders, click here.
Free support can also be accessed from Mates in Mind here.
Rethink Mental Illness can help here.
The Sandy Health Centre offers an A-Z of mental health organisations here.
Construction Sport offers advice on coping with mental health difficulties here.
You can find more advice about mental health at Mind here.
If you are experiencing poor mental health, or need someone to talk to, you can also contact the Samaritans here.
If you found this article helpful, we recommend Respiratory health checks for construction workers.
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